It’s amazing how much some people manage to get done, while others seem to struggle to accomplish even a single objective let alone a series of them.
But, here’s something worth remembering – everyone has the same amount of time in every single day.
It’s one way in which we are all created equal. Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day.
Track Your Activities for a Week
Whether you’re happy with what you’ve achieved so far this year or not, tracking your weekly activities can help give you a much better picture of how you’re spending your time.
So why not give it a try? Record your tasks every two hours including ‘pit stops’ i.e. making a nice cuppa. Don’t change anything for now about the way you work; just record your normal day.
At the end of the week look at how you spent your time and categorise each activity as either urgent, important, family, fun, and time suckers.
Of course, some activities that are fun might fall into the category of time sucking and that’s okay because you can place limits on some things to still allow yourself to have fun without going overboard into time wasting.
Assign All Important Tasks to a ‘To-Do’ List
Everything that is urgent and important should be scheduled. Some urgent and important things will also be family things.
Put it all into your schedule.
Give it the amount of time you think it will take, adding a few minutes for padding to avoid run over and missed deadlines.
Schedule Fun Time
Don’t forget to put time for fun into your schedule. Fun often goes with family and friends and it is a very important part of your life.
The trick is to schedule the right amount of time and the right amount of fun, without intruding on the important and urgent tasks and activities that you also need to make sure you get done.
Spend Time Each Night and Morning in Planning Mode
I love planning.
I recommend taking time each evening to evaluate how your day went, deciding what could have been done better and what needs longer or shorter times to accomplish. The point here is that we often underestimate just how long something takes so by reviewing every day we begin to understand better the true amount of time it takes to complete particular types of task.
If you do this you will soon improve the way you plan and allocate your time.
Each morning you should take the time to look over your schedule and remind yourself what is coming up so you don’t forget anything. Never rely too much on just remembering – no matter how good you think your memory is.
Create a Plan of Action for Each Activity
It doesn’t matter if the plan is for family time, for business, or for something else – if you create a plan of attack for each item on your to-do list, you’ll get through it faster and with fewer problems.
One of the biggest time wasters is jumping from item to item. It’s much better to tackle each task on your list in turn until they’re all completed. By taking this approach you’ll feel as if you have a lot more time to get things done but more importantly you will have a greater sense of accomplishment at the end of each day.
Train Others to Respect Your Time
It’s really important that you teach people to respect your time.
As Oprah once said: “You teach people how to treat you.”
Are you teaching people to respect your time? If not, it’s time to start doing so and the first step is to put boundaries in place so that you are clear on what is non-negotiable.
Never underestimate the power of delegation for opening up more time in your day.
A good assistant can almost double your time.
So while you can’t actually create more time, remember that everyone has the same 24 hours. You can create a situation in which you effectively duplicate yourself by hiring an assistant or outsourcing some of those wonderful activities such as housework (I know some of you reading this love cleaning… I’m not one of them – I love a great cleaner).
Just remember – there is no such thing as a successful CEO who doesn’t delegate.
Finally, it’s important to always be realistic about what can really be accomplished in any given amount of time. No matter how much you want to be, you’re not superwoman (or man) – you’re just a regular person doing their best to manage the resources they have. If something doesn’t get done today, move it to tomorrow. As you get better at scheduling, you’ll get it down to a science and you’ll know instinctively how long it really takes you to do any particular task and you’ll have fewer days where you don’t succeed.
I would love to hear how you manage your time. Please leave a comment in the box below to let me know some of your great time saving tips.